Why Stories Work
Everyone loves a good story. In fact, sometimes we love them so much we binge-watch them on our mobile devices for hours at a time.
When a story sucks you in, connects with you, and transports you into a new world, you can’t help but want more.
A great story changes us, moves us to become more, and opens up the door to new and stronger relationships. We are the sum total of all of the stories we’ve experienced and heard. Stories shape our view of the world, of others, and ourselves.
In fact, science says that a great story convinces our brain that we are actually experiencing it ourselves. When a story really connects on an emotional level, scientists have discovered that your body releases a chemical called oxytocin.
Oxytocin has been proven in numerous scientific studies to enhance feelings such as trust, compassion, and empathy. When our levels of oxytocin are raised, so is our willingness to take action. Facts alone, do not activate the areas of our brains that release this powerful, mind-changing chemical. Stories, however, that contain key elements discussed in another post, do just this.
There are indeed many pieces that go into the creation and crafting of a great story. And while we won’t discuss them right now, I do want to mention two of the most important aspects.
The Hero and Their Moment
Great stories require the hero to answer a question which in turn requires your audience to do the same. Stories have the power to turn to customers into converted fans and evangelists for your brand.
Stories take your customers from inquisitive seekers of answers to loyal followers anxious to not only do business with you but to bring others along for the ride.
A great story contains a moment. A moment where the hero/relatable character changes, conquers, fails and learns a lesson that shapes the direction their life takes from that point forward. Some call it a climax or point of no return. This moment makes or breaks a story and its mere existence or lack thereof determines whether or not there is actually or a story. The absence of a “moment” results in the telling of an anecdote rather than a story. Both have value and their place in your marketing, but both are not stories.
Story is the natural language of our minds. It connects us and builds unbreakable relationships. This becomes an invaluable tool when you remember that your customers, investors, and employees are not just looking to do business with you because of facts and figures but because of who you are. Stories transport them from mere observers to actual participants who feel a vested interest in the conversation and path down which you hope to take them.